I am so glad to see the news today that Theresa May is planning to invest millions into helping fund mental health care in England. This a great step in the right direction for mental health to be taken seriously like any other physical condition. They have said every secondary school will receive mental health first aid training, which I thing is such a positive thing. 1 in 4 people suffer with a mental illness and many mental illnesses start through teenage years.
Looking back at my teenage years it is now quiet clear to me that I had mental health issues, but I was completely clueless on how to deal with them and often suffered with depression. I remember listening to someone say that once you were on antidepressants that you would be on them for the rest of your life, so I felt to scared to even ask the doctor about them. I suffered with terrible PMS right until I started antidepressants, I would have fits of rage, breaking things, hitting and the followed by feelings of shame for not being able to control my emotions. I would feel fine one minuet then it was like I was possessed and I wasn’t able to contain my emotions. If I knew what I knew now I would have started taking antidepressants to help with this alone as since starting them I am so much more relaxed and no longer get angry about silly things
For anyone following my story they will know after battling postnatal depression for 18 months I had a breakdown and ended up under the crisis team care. Since I was discharged back in November I have had no other contact besides a ten minuet phone conversation with someone from the Iapt team. I am still waiting on a priority list to see someone and have been prescribed antipsychotics and benzodiazepines to take when needed. I have kept myself positive and have used support groups on Facebook and called Samaritans when I have needed extra support. I find it quiet shocking that someone can be left with no care for so long who was previously suicidal and self-harming.
Since I accepted I have postnatal depression when Mr T was 5 months old and let go of the initial guilt, I have now stopped worrying what other people think about me and I am doing everything I can to help lift the stigma around mental health. I could hide what I went through, but for whose benefit besides the people who find it uncomfortable to talk about it or the ones who do not believe it is a real thing.
Mental illness sucks not just for someone going through it, but for the family and friends who have to support you through it. Everyone can probably relate to it or knows someone who has dealt with it and the more we are open about it, the more we can help each other. I hope the Prime Ministers new plans to invest millions into mental health will help lift the stigma around metal illness so we can progress in this ever challenging world.
For the first time in a long time I am finally feeling like I’m in a good place and I am ready to set myself some goals to complete throughout the year. Postnatal depression and anxiety has made me extremely reliant on friends and family to get out and about and I have found it almost impossible to do things on my own or with just my children. Even a trip to the local supermarket with my anxiety can be extremely overwhelming, but I’m ready to put my big girl pants on and start fighting back, so I can stop being limited enjoying my life. There is no better time than now for me to grab the world by the balls and start doing stuff for me again. I’m back in control of my life and will not be forced to sit on the sidelines anymore.
I am terrible for cancelling last minuet and it isn’t because I’m a bad friend it’s because of my anxiety. I over think every aspect of doing something, however small and find it so overwhelming and exhausting that I avoid it and hide away. This just makes things harder for me to get out the next time and stops me from doing something I probably would have enjoyed. The worse part is I feel my children miss out on so many lovely things because of my avoidance behaviour.
The first of my goals I’ve committed myself to is to see the lovely Vicki from Honest Mum at ‘Turn your passion into pounds‘ workshop in London. I’m so looking forward to doing this and planning to spent the day in London before to enjoy exploring. Going by train is something that has always caused me anxiety over the fear of getting lost and London I find quiet overwhelming, but I do love London and want to get out and explore.
I’ve been asked a few times to guest host, which is something I was very nervous about doing. I’ve always doubted myself and thought my content wouldn’t be good enough. I have now written my first guest post for mummyitsok and two more to write for two other amazing bloggers.
I am planning some trips with the children to go to some new places we haven’t been to before, not just for their benefit, but also for mine. It’s time to make some wonderful memories with these children of mine.
I really want to spend a weekend away with my husband. We haven’t stayed away anywhere since our honeymoon where I was 18 weeks pregnant and had terrible morning sickness. We’ve been married six years this August and I’m determined to do something with my wonderful husband.
I ended the year by joining the gym in November and I am happy to report (besides a Christmas break) that I am still going and enjoying the classes. I plan to keep doing this and would like to go at least twice a week. I had a real fear of going to the gym as I was scared of how unfit I actually was and how stupid I would look, but I’ve found it so rewarding and something I am honestly enjoying.
I would like a family holiday, if possible and if finances permit. I’m quiet happy for just a little break in England, but would love a trip for us together as a family.
Last year I started this blog at a very low point of my life through postnatal depression and I honestly didn’t think anyone would read it. Blogging has been amazing for my confidence and something I’m enjoying so much. Blogging isn’t just about writing good content and it takes up hours of my time each week, I’ve had to learn so much and still have so much more to learn, but I am keen to carry on and hopefully make my blog somewhere that people will want to keep coming back to.
I have a bad habit for starting to read books, but not completing them, This year one of my goals is to read at least one new book and month and finish it.
I am very keen to learn more about mindfulness and make it a part of my everyday life. After suffering with PND I’ve realised how important it is to look after you mind.
As a young girl all I wanted was to become a mother. I had these dreams of how I would embrace motherhood and become this perfect little mummy and house wife to my little family. When I was carrying Miss J I looked up to my own mother, looked at what the latest trends were for changing bags and pushchairs, I read countless articles and aspired to be this perfect mummy that I had imagined in my head.
I tried this motherhood on managed to get it work for the most part. I was pretty good at it and had a child growing up to be the most perfect little girl. When baby number 2 was cooking things started to get a bit messy. I wasn’t so good at getting out, doing the toddler groups, I didn’t have the energy to dress you up perfectly coordinated, I didn’t have time to do all the messy play and baking cakes. Things started to unravel when Mr T arrived into this big wide world and I had a big shock of what it was to look after two small humans.
The realisation of postnatal depression arrived and exposed me like nothing had before. I was feeling, weak, lonely and empty inside and I was no longer the mother I wanted to be. I beat myself up for failing my children and made myself feel so guilty. I wasn’t fitting into motherhood anymore and I wasn’t sure how to do it again. Things eventually came to a head and I couldn’t look after either of my children in the way they needed.
I had to take a step back and start focusing on myself. I read self-help books, took medication and I got help. Eventually I started to rebuild myself again, but I still wasn’t fitting into motherhood like I did before. My perception had changed and I realised that the mother I was trying to be before wasn’t me.
One day things just clicked, I was a little older, a smidge wiser and a tad more confident. I realised that I didn’t need to fit into motherhood and it needed to fit into me. Why should I pretend to be someone I wasn’t, just to please others and why did I feel I had to do things in a certain way so others didn’t judge.
Things have changed and I’m now a happy mother, which I can now positively say that I’m telling the truth. Mummy now takes more time for herself and she doesn’t try to impress others or care for their opinions. My children are none the wiser and are just happy to see that I am happy. It took some time, but I learnt to own motherhood and make it my own. Don’t ever be anyone, but yourself.
Just a few days left until I can say goodbye to 2016 and roll on 2017. 2016 has been so horrid for so many people I know and so many people I don’t. I do have some great memories, but unfortunately everything has been clouded in between. This year I did get to go on one of my best friends amazing Hen Party in Cambridge, then her fabulous wedding where I was a bridesmaid. I also got to go on two holidays and a few days break in England. I saw Miss J grow up and leave me to go to school for the first time and have subsequently watched her blossom and grow with confidence. I do unfortunately have many unhappy memories especially a particularly dark time in October, when I had a break down.
This year my confidence and self-esteem have been shattered and I have doubted myself as a parent and a wife. Postnatal depression brought me to my knees and caused me so much suffering, that I’m sure will have a lasting impact to me for years. Anxiety had ruined my day to day life and the depression had made me doubt everything I thought I knew about myself. I have been a pretty crappy mother and only met my children’s basic needs for much of year, consumed with my own battle.
I found my blog this year in September and found my own little space that was just for me. I have my own website where I can write whatever my heart desires. I read back through old blog posts and can see progress and I can make sense of my feelings whilst typing them out. Blogging has been my saviour in a world where I had no time for me anymore.
I know I can leave this year and hold my head high knowing I did the best I could in the situation I was in. I have let go of guilt, excepted that things don’t need to be perfect and that it is ok to not be ok. I have got my confidence back and I have learnt so much about myself in this year. I have always sought approval and still do to some extent, but I have also learnt that I need to love and look after myself before worrying about others opinions.
I am not one for resolutions, but this past year has changed me so much that I am willing to try new things. I plan to get fit, not lose weight, not starve, I mean get fit and lose inches and gain confidence. I will not being standing anywhere near my scales and will be committing to the gym. By getting fit I also mean mentally, I will be going for counselling, investing time into my self and caring about my wellbeing.
2017 I am ready for what you have to offer and ready to fight for my happiness. I will leave this post with a quote from the amazing late Carrie Fisher, who sums it up all so well.
I don’t feel particularly messed up. I’ve always been quite sane about being insane. Carrie Fisher 21/10/56 – 27/12/16
Something I can now find overwhelming, is when there is some big event coming up that I should be enjoying. I find there is so much pressure to enjoy Christmas day and after lasts year when I was deep in my postnatal depression I was a little worried how it would be. Last year Mr T was 7 months old and I had started antidepressants a couple of months earlier, I was extremely anxious and feeling pretty disconnected from the whole thing. I painted a smile on my face, some make-up and drank a fair amount of baileys in the hope it would improve my spirit. Looking back through pictures I just feel sadness that I wasn’t able to enjoy my baby sons first Christmas, so this year I felt I wanted to make up for it.
This year, even though I was determined to make it a great Christmas, I wasn’t very organised and brought my last present on Christmas Eve. I would usually be frantically shopping around for Black Friday deals, but instead I was relaxing in the sun in Fuerteventura. I was kind to myself this Christmas, I wrapped a few presents each night, whilst watching Christmas films, didn’t spend a fortune on my children as I knew they would be spoilt by family, I made sure that I got a present I really wanted (Canon 1300D DSLR camera) and I made sure I took the time running up to Christmas enjoying my family and embrace Christmas. I even managed to get a night out with my girlfriends and have a great night in a new local prosecco bar. I think being back at work this year helped me get in the mood, as not only was it Christmas it was also a break away from work for just over a week. If I can I always try to be thoughtful of other, but after this last year I felt I had taken more from the world than given back so I decided to set myself a task of doing something thoughtful every for 11 days before Christmas, I am happy to say that I completed all these little tasks, which made me feel fulfilled before Christmas.
Christmas day this year really was lovely besides waking up to Mr T, covered in poo, half way up his back. The children woke at respectable 8am and Miss J patiently waited upstairs, whilst her brother was bathed. It really was magical watching the children open their presents and watch the excitement in their faces. After presents we went around to my parents house for the second round of presents with my sister and her husband. We had a lazy morning, opening and putting together multiple children’s toys and I even managed to have a play with my camera. My mum put on the most fantastic Christmas lunch and after collapsing into a meat coma for a couple of hours we headed to my mother in laws house for round three of presents.
My mother in law loves nothing more than Christmas and never fails to disappointment in making it a lovely day for the children. My two children got to spend the afternoon playing with their four other cousins, running around and playing games. My mother in law does a separate Christmas tree covered in prizes for the children, they pick a raffle ticket and get to find there present on the tree, which the children love.
The whole day was beautiful, filled with laughter, love and far too much food. I’m so glad I was able to fully embrace Christmas day and appreciate the time spent with our family.
I have been quiet vocal about how Miss J didn’t accept her baby brother when he was born 19 months ago. It’s something quiet common, but it’s not something you want to really talk about. Miss J was just over two when I got pregnant with her brother and was such a mummy’s girl. She was my mini me and always wanted mummy to put her to bed and read her stories. Whilst I was pregnant we did everything we could to prepare her for her new sibling, by talking about what was happening, taking her to our gender scan and letting her pick baby clothes and toys. She seemed to be understanding and kept asking when baby would ‘pop out’. When ever I did hold another baby she would get extremely jealous, so I did wonder if it would take a little adjustment initially. In preparation for her brother arriving we bought Miss J a fairy locket for her brother to give her and she picked out a blue ‘snuggle bunny’ the same as her much loved bunny. Everything we could have possibly done to prepare for his arrival was done and it was just now a waiting game.
At 37 weeks my waters broke without sending me into labour so after a 24 hour wait I was sent to hospital to be induced which didn’t work the first time. I had a long wait waiting for labour to kick start and was feeling really emotional and sad about not seeing my daughter. I had decided I didn’t want Miss J to see me in hospital and would let her meet her brother in her own home. Mr T arrived safely and we were able to leave the next afternoon to get home. Miss J was being looked after by a friend and was bought home to meet him. Her initial reaction was ‘it popped out’, she gave him gift and went off to play. I wasn’t expecting much from her and that was fine, as I knew it would take her time to adjust.
Miss J wasn’t interested in her little brother and was getting quiet jealous of me breastfeeding him. I was prepared that this could happen and spent as much time as I could with sitting with her and spending time with her and at first it was manageable as my husband was off work for two weeks to help. When my husband went back to work on twelve hour shifts things became a lot more strained. Everytime Mr T would cry she would put a muslim over his face and I was trying to explain to her why she couldn’t do that without making her resent him more. She would scream when I was holding him, refuse to walk if we were out and I was pushing him in his pram. She refused to even call him by his name and refered to him as ‘the baby’. I was having to bribe Miss J with sweets so I could get the occasional picture with her brother and I was trying desperately to get her to bond, but nothing was working and I knew it wasn’t something that could be forced.
My own mother suggested Miss J stayed over every Friday so I got a break, she got a break and I was able to bond with my baby. Miss J loved going over for the night, but when it came to coming back home she would scream that she didn’t want to, which was breaking my heart. I felt so guilty for bringing this baby into her life who she resented. I was struggling to get out the house and I was struggling to bond with my baby, looking back now it’s not surprising that I got postnatal depression.
There was nothing I could do, but to keep on trying to show Miss J that her brother wasn’t all that bad. I was getting her involved in any way possible, by getting nappies, letting her feed him a bottle, help wash him. I was patient with her and excepted that a bond for her would take time. I encouraged her to sit and communicate with him and to show him her toys or dancing and gradually I was seeing something happen. The real turning point was when Miss J started pre-school for two and half days a week. She loved going and having time to play with her friends and I loved being able to bond with baby or go shopping with ease. I remember taking Mr T for his jabs and had no choice, but to take Miss J with me, she insisted on holding his hand and became so worried and upset when he was crying. She was feeling his pain and was showing real concern for her little brother. Even though watching your baby have injections is usually a horrible experience it was something quiet special about that day as Miss J showed for the first time that she loved her brother. She still gets a bit jealous at times as he does of her, but I think that’s just natural for siblings. When Mr T wakes first in the morning he shouts her name and goes to find her in her bed and when she’s up first she climbs into his cot for cuddles. To watch them now you would never know what a struggle it was for her to bond with her brother, she’s extremely protective of him and loves to sit reading him books and play with his toys. They have their moments like any siblings do, but I can now see I’ve given her the greatest gift in the world which is her brother.
I’m sorry, that I’m not the woman you married five years ago. I remember the day so clearly, how you looked, how you smiled and the way you looked down at me from the altar. You took me as your wife and I promised to you that I would always be yours which all changed, when not even a year later we became a family. Things had changed for the good and the bad and things would never be the same again.
My stomach now resembled a deflated balloon and breastfeeding had changed the purpose of my now slightly saggy chest. When you left for work you no longer got a kiss and a packed lunch made for you, I almost even resented you that you got to leave this mad house. When you came back home I was relieved, not so I could spend time with you, but so I could finally have ten minuets of peace, hiding upstairs from the insanity in our living room.
Weekends no longer consisted of date nights, shopping and weekends away, but now a juggling act of who was more deserving to get a few hours away from responsibility. We still spend time together, but we are looking after one child each and not interacting. I miss holding your hand whilst we would go for walks together, but now your hand is held by our daughters and my hands push our son in his pram.
We go to bed in same bed, both exhausted and say goodnight and before long we get a little person between us taking up all the space. You snore all night which grates on my nerves and you never replace the toilet roll when you are done, but I still love you.
I’m sorry I’m not the woman you married five years ago, but I’ve become a mother now and I love her even more than the person I was before and I know you love her too. You are no longer the man I married five years ago, you now have a less athletic figure and less hair than you did. The thing is I love that you have wrinkles around your eyes when you smile and I love the bits of grey coming through your beard. I fell in love with your soul when we met and I still see that every time I look into your green eyes.
When I see you throwing our baby boy in the air my heart fills with love and I love how you sit with our daughter and read with her every night. I knew when me met that you would make a fantastic husband and father and you have. When you tell me you love me I know you mean it and when you do hold my hand I know it’s because you want to.
I’m sorry you have been forgotten, but you know I will come back to you one day. We will be that old couple who holds hands for walks down by the river.
The day is warm and the sun is shining bright, whilst a mother and her children walk along a country path. She smiles away, pushing her baby in his pram whilst her angelic three year old skips along side her. She has her make up on and a pretty summer dress and to the outside world she looks happy and content. She smiles when she walks past people and lovingly strokes her baby’s cheek as yet another old lady stops her to coo over this beautiful baby. Her life is complete as she has one of each and they are the most beautiful children she could have ever imagined, but why does she feel like this.
Behind the smile she is dying inside with pain. She wants to scream and shout, but she doesn’t think anyone can hear her. Maybe she could run away, but would the pain still follow her or maybe it’s best to end it now, so she doesn’t have to feel this pain anymore. She is consumed with guilt, anger and pain and she knows she is failing, but that make-up is hiding the bags under her eyes and is her mask to the outside world that she is doing ok. When people ask how she is, she always smiles and replies that she is fine, as she is too scared to tell them the truth. No one wants to know that she can’t cope and that everyday is a battle. Why would anyone feel the way she does with two beautiful children.
Her pain is invisible to the naked eye and she blends in like any other mum taking their little family out. She is isolated and alone and feels like she is battling this pain all on her own. No one knows that this is the first time she has left her home for a week or that she feels like a prisoner trapped in her own mind. She’s afraid and anxious that she will never feel happiness again. The anxiety has been building up inside her to force herself out and to not spend another day in that prison that used to be her home.
She finally gets to the shop and buys what she needs and heads back to her home. She made it out today, she kept the children alive, she survived and she continued to fight. Today she made progress and tomorrow she will be strong enough to ask for help.
Something that I’ve really struggled with all my teenage and adult life is loving myself. I have always had a low opinion of my self and lacked confidence, but with postnatal-depression my self-esteem really took a bash. Not only did I not like the person I was, I was also doubting myself as a mother and how good of a parent I actually was. I am currently trying to build my self-esteem and confidence to become the person I want to be. It’s all about believing and knowing what you deserve and I know I deserve happiness. I know some days will be hard and some days I will struggle to believe in myself, but it’s all about picking yourself back up and not letting those feelings linger and not letting them work their way in so you believe them.
I’m finally feeling well enough to enjoy parenting again and am able to appreciate my children. I can now feel emotions of love and happiness and not just pain and sadness. My children are my main focus through this and I need to get better for them not just myself. I need to love myself so they can grow up knowing how to love themselves. I need to be the role model my children deserve and the support for them when they need encouragement.
I am taking this time to focus on myself and putting my needs first. I am no longer doing things just to make others happy. I am looking after myself, I am taking the time for long baths in peace so I can unwind and relax after a day, going to the gym so I can feel healthier and doing something for myself, writing my blog as its therapeutic and puts things in perspective, taking time to do my make up and hair so I can feel more like me and occasionally treating myself to something I want and not just need. I have dedicated 18 months of the last five years growing humans and 2 1/2 years breastfeeding them and it’s my turn to be a little selfish and start focusing on myself. I have given everything I have to my children and can no longer give as much, unless I start looking after myself. I am Michelle and not just mum and need to focus on what makes me happy from time to time.
These last 18 months have been extremely hard on myself, but they have also been enlightening. I have learnt so much about myself and why I am, the way I am and what makes me act in certain ways. I know I will never been perfect and I am letting go unrealistic expectations and starting my life as a new blank page. I am fortunate that I feel love everyday from the family that I have helped create and I am rich in so many ways besides wealth. Life is good and my happiness is reachable.
I have been back home from holiday for almost a week and have been so worried about how I would stay positive, cope going back to work and having to get back into our normal routine. I’ve found that I can spiral quickly when things are on top of me and when I feel overwhelmed and with coming back to a house with a mountain of washing, school runs, catching up on jobs and going back to work I was unsure how I would cope. The first couple of days after getting back from our holiday I stayed in and just caught up on washing and jobs around the house, I wasn’t feeling very motivated as I’m sure no one is about washing, but I pushed myself to get it done. I find it so easy to get myself stuck in a rut and not going out of the house. On a Monday I now usually go to a gym class, but with Mr T being full of cold I was stuck in doors for the whole day which had then made me anxious and I struggled to stay positive about returning back to work the following day.
Miss J had her first nativity play this week as a towns person, which she has been very excited about. She’s been singing the songs all week and was so excited that me and daddy would be coming to see her. Unfortunately were not able to see her much in the nativity as we didn’t get great seats, but she saw that we were there and she loved it so that’s all that matters.
My sleep on holiday had been fantastic, I was getting a good 8 hours a night plus naps most days, but since getting home I’ve been struggling to unwind and sleep again. I felt so relaxed and calm on holiday and since I’ve been back I’ve felt like my mind is racing again. When I don’t get sleep my mood can be effected quickly and it’s something that had worried me. Last night I downloaded Headspace app which I have used previously to help me sleep. I’ve put a reminder on through the app every night at 11pm so I can go upstairs and listen to it in preparation to sleep. The sessions take ten minuets and they really are so relaxing and I always seem to be able to get to sleep quickly after.
Something else positive this week was going back to the gym yesterday. I tried out the body pump class and can honestly say that I loved it and will be back again next week. I ache so bad today, but am determined to keep up with the gym so I can lose weight, tone and also feel better in myself. Before my holiday I had been going to Zumba class on a Monday which I am also really enjoying, but unfortunately with Mr T being ill this week I had to miss it. I never thought I was a gym person and when I had joined other gyms before kids I soon got bored and stopped going. I think the key to this one is that I can go in the day when I have energy and they also have a crèche so by the time I’ve finished my class and had a shower Mr T is ready for his nap, so I can have some time for lunch in peace and we then can have a lovely afternoon playing. Mr T hasn’t been in a nursery yet so this time for him has been great for him to be away from me and to interact with other children in preparation to him starting nursery next month. I have also taken some horrid pictures of myself in my work out clothes to motivate me to lose this horrible belly and massive thighs of mine, I don’t think I’ll be sharing those with you though.
This morning we managed to have a bit of an epic fail. I got Miss J dressed for Christmas Jumper Day today and then realised half way to school that no other children were dressed besides mine and my equally silly friends two kids. We quickly ran back home, did a quick uniform change and promised that she could put it back on after school, when I realised I had locked myself into my house. We had our door fixed recently which wasn’t done very well as we now need to use the key to open it from the inside, but you can open it from the outside if it isn’t properly locked. In the frantic rush to get Miss J dressed I had managed to leave the keys on the other side of the door. Poor Miss J had to go out the window and broke a plant pot in the process, so she could open the door for me. We then eventually made it to school, dropped Mr T of quickly to my mum and managed to make it to work on time. Another thing on my list of things to do is to get the front door fixed.
My job for over the weekend is to start writing out a chores schedule, so we can all do our bit in the house to make it cleaner, more organised and taking away some of the stress of it all landing on my shoulders. My husband is fantastic as he works long hours, but to do anything he has to be told and he has a habit of leaving clothes, cups plates and sweetie wrappers all around the house. My husband like many others still lives like a teenager and with the children taking up so much of my time it’s his time to start chipping in. My darling husband you are no longer going to be picked up after and you are in charge of you own mess. Another job for me this weekend is to have a clear out whilst Miss J is staying with her nanny. I have made a start going through the children’s clothes and packing up a big bag to go to a local hostel for young mums. Tonight I will be making my yearly Christmas card and calendars for the grand-parents so I can tick off something else on my never-ending list. Getting the children to stay still and happy last night for pictures for the Christmas card was extremely frustrating (see blog post picture), until we discovered jelly tots. We eventually managed to get a decent picture through bribery and got the children hyped up on sugar just before bed.
I have my first appointment with the mental health community team next week to see what long-term help they can offer me. I’m so nervous about going, but I know it will be a hugely positive thing for me to have this support so I can continue to get better.
I have set my goals for the following week to stay positive and achieve what I can. Any achievement for me to improve even if only slightly is a huge step in the right direction. I will continue doing my affirmations everyday to make sure my head is in the right place.
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